MadCovid is an intersectional mental health community for survivor and service-user led projects.
We launched in March 2020, early in the Covid-19 pandemic and shortly before the first UK lockdown was announced. Our goal has remained the same from then until now: to offer solidarity and support to people living with pre-existing mental health conditions and neurodiversities, and to document our experiences in order to push for change, as well as for the historical record.
We facilitate a number of different projects, all of which are created and run by people with lived experience. Our projects are diverse and unique, offering different opportunities for people to connect, support one another, be creative, and speak out about mental health before and during the pandemic.
We began with our MadCovid Diaries project, which documents the lived experiences of people with mental health conditions during such unprecedented times. This was swiftly followed by our Hardship Fund. We set up a fundraiser for people in the UK with mental health conditions and/or neurodiversities who are facing financial hardship as a result of Covid-19, offering small grants of up to £200. The fund raised over £29,000 in its first year and has awarded nearly £27,000 in small grants. This fund is still open for donations and applicants today.
Soon after, members of our community started a social media art project, Pandemink!, and a lockdown zine, Quaranzine. Today, we also have the Mad Conversations podcast, Craft Club and #GetTheFckOutside, amongst others! You can find out more about some of our projects, including how to get involved, through the different pages on this website. MadCovid continues to provide support for new projects proposed by the Mad community.
The MadCovid collective has gone from strength to strength, and we are pleased to be able to amplify the discussion around the effect that Covid-19 and mismanagement of the pandemic has had on Mad people in the UK. This has included an invited keynote presentation for the Royal College of Psychiatrists, for their conference: ‘Meaningful online psychiatric care in an era of Covid-19’, and a published set of Recommendations for Mental Health Services. We have also presented events held by the British Association of Social Workers and Health Improvement Scotland. In March 2021, MadCovid was shortlisted for the University of Manchester’s ‘Making A Difference’ award.
Our policy on intersectionality
MadCovid are an intersectional ally group. We understand that injustices within mental health services policy, funding, access and treatment are paralleled by those in wider society; racism, anti-blackness, homophobia, transphobia, xenophobia, islamophobia, ableism, fat-phobia and more besides.
MadCovid denounces oppression in all its guises. We stand in solidarity with trans, queer, black and brown folks of all ethnicities, cultures, gender identities, sexualities, faiths, beliefs, sizes and abilities. We understand the fight for disability justice must be undertaken in coordination with Black liberation, trans rights, religious freedom, pronoun liberation and body liberation.
MadCovid does not tolerate hate speech of any kind. We support the right of each individual to define their own mental health experience, but will not platform or support work which is exclusionary or oppressive to any group.
We fight for the rights, dignity and freedom of all.
MadCovid is run by a team of Mad volunteers. Find out more about us below:
Bethan co-ordinates #MadCovidDiaries and is generally involved in most other MadCovid stuff! She has long term experience of living with a mental health condition and is passionate about survivor / service user collective activism. Amongst many things, Bethan was a Recovery in the Bin admin from 2018 – 2020, where she led a campaign resulting in the halting and amending of the #CALMEDTrial. She also wrote and co-delivered #Neorecovery: A survivor led conceptualisation and critique at the 25th International MHNR Conference, 2019. She has previously worked as a service user researcher and is involved in numerous studies as a co-applicant and in an advisory capacity.
Bethan openly leads a double life as a ‘professional’, having qualified as an occupational therapist in 2011. She currently works as an NHS research occupational therapist and is undertaking her PhD at Cardiff University.
Ellie has long-term experience of mental illness and identifies as psychiatrically disabled and a Mad Artist. Ellie’s never completed an educational course without the cheese sliding off her cracker, but she loves surprising people who underestimate her for it. She lives in South London with her cat.
Ellie helps day-to-day with MadCovid admin, including our Instagram page, writing blogs and administering our Hardship Fund. She launched Mad Makers and ‘For The Record’, and also helps produce and host the Mad Conversations podcast.
Laura is a general jill-of-all-trades and helps out with various MadCovid projects as needed. She has a PhD in medieval history and continues to publish historical research alongside a variety of freelance and fixed term roles in health research, peer support, and lived experience involvement. She co-created the perinatal peer support principles, and her memoir of motherhood and mental illness is available to pre-order. She lives in Southampton with her son and elderly cat.
Sunitha, Suni or Sunny (She/they) is a South Asian queer person who has lived with long term mental health illnesses most of her life. Now 30, she spends a lot of her spare time focused on activism, particularly on the rights of undocumented and insecure migrants. She originally got involved in MadCovid writing diaries varying from sporadic to regular contributions, such is the life of someone living with long term mental health illness under a pandemic, and did a podcast episode. She helps administer the fund with Ellie, Laura, Nell, Bethan and Jo as well as ad-hoc support on projects.